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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

Senate.   Some of the wicked English who used to
dine there, on one occasion were discovered popping
an indecent book through the Senators* letter-box.
It was a French one too, which they had bought,
and, owing to its incredible indecency, they were
rather embarrassed with its presence in their hotel.
I met Van Loon at one-thirty.   He handed me a
packet of a hundred blank visiting cards and said,
" I dined last night at Larue with two friends of
mine and we did a hundred and fifty drawings;  I
thought that you might find these useful for making
drawings in public places/5   I thanked him and, I
think, we did one or two drawings then to christen
them.    He also bought me a history book of his
called Ancient Man which he had illustrated.    He
did very amusing little drawings.    I wished that,
when I had been a child, I had been given such an
interesting history book, I might have taken some
interest in the subject.   We had ordered sole and
on the first page he did a drawing of a sole and
underneath wrote, " To N. H., in memory of a
common sole."   I was delighted and we had great
fun.   Van Loon drank Vichy water and I had some
wine.   Suddenly he said, " My God, this is Thanks-
giving Day I I had quite forgotten it, I must give
you a present, what would you like? "  I could not
think of anything for a minute, but after thinking a
little.I said, "I would like a guitar.55    He said,
" That is splendid, I play the violin myself and we
will go and inspect the musk shops."    We went
round the back streets in the neighbourhood of the
Boulevard St. Germain which was quite near.   I
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